Scott Genius LT 720 review£2,999.00

Unique alpine all-rounder

BikeRadar score2.5/5

The shape and spec of Scott’s Genius LT mean it looks like many other bikes on paper. But some unique features give this long-travel bike a significantly different ride character.

Frame and equipment: tidy package

There’s no doubt that this frame is superbly put together. While you don’t get the carbon mainframe of the shorter-travel Genius 720, Scott’s alloy frames have always been among the lightest and most neatly detailed, and the Genius LT 720 is no exception.

Smooth formed and curved main tubes leave plenty of standover clearance, while the offset curved seat tube lets the rear wheel tuck right in to give the LT 170mm (6.7in) of travel – 20mm more than most comparable 650b wheeled bikes.

The way the shock driver linkage wraps around the seat tube is particularly neat, and a flippable insert changes the ride height by 6mm and slackens the geometry by half a degree too. External down tube control routing protects the frame and keeps servicing easy. The rear axle is 142x12mm, the bottom bracket is press-fit with ISCG chain guide tabs if you need them, and there’s a small rubber chain keeper dangling under the chainstay as standard.

Extending fox’s 34 fork to 170mm of travel adds structural flex but the factory damper is an improvement over the evolution version if you tune it right: extending fox’s 34 fork to 170mm of travel adds structural flex but the factory damper is an improvement over the evolution version if you tune it right
Extending fox’s 34 fork to 170mm of travel adds structural flex but the factory damper is an improvement over the evolution version if you tune it right: extending fox’s 34 fork to 170mm of travel adds structural flex but the factory damper is an improvement over the evolution version if you tune it right

Extending Fox’s 34 fork to 170mm of travel adds flex, but the Factory damper is an improvement over the Evolution version if you tune it right

To match the frame, Fox has stretched its 160mm (6.3in) travel 34 Float CTD fork out to 170mm (6.7in). It also gets a remote low-speed compression adjuster to sync with Scott’s unique TwinLoc bar lever. As the name suggests, this also links to the custom designed Fox rear shock, toggling it between fully open, a reduced travel ‘traction’ mode and a ‘locked’ setting to match the fork.

The rest of the kit is more conventional, with a mix of X5 to X9 spec SRAM gearing and a twin-ring and bashguard equipped chainset. Solid Shimano braking power is boosted by a 203mm front rotor, while the Performance series Schwalbe tyres get a dual compound mix for better wet grip.

Scott’s own-brand Syncros kit includes a super-stiff, on-trend 35mm diameter stem and bar. DT Swiss spokes and Shimano hubs create a durable centre for the Syncros rimmed wheels, and an externally routed KS dropper post completes the reasonable value kitlist.

Ride and handling: in search of balance

With the geometry set to low and the front wheel stretching out beyond the fat diameter, wide span 760mm bar, the Genius LT feels ready to get stuck into some serious terrain. But the TwinLoc lever is a big part of the bike’s character rather than just being an incidental extra like most remote lockouts.

As soon as you press the pedals in the ‘open’ position, there’s noticeable sag and wallow in the already linear stroke that saps enthusiasm and wastes effort. Fortunately, clicking into the ‘traction’ mode with its firmer compression tune and smaller volume shock chamber makes for a tighter, more pedalling friendly feel that still moves enough to boost traction on rocky climbs or chattery corners.

The light wheels are also a noticeable bonus when you’re hard on the pedals out of corners or fighting gravity. Add lockout when you need it, plus a decent length top tube to balance the short stem, and this Scott is a bike that you can hustle surprisingly fast round flat cross-country trails or even up extended mountain climbs.

Scott’s three-position twinloc system gives a unique level of ride tweaking, but the system seriously affects overall suspension control: scott’s three-position twinloc system gives a unique level of ride tweaking, but the system seriously affects overall suspension control
Scott’s three-position twinloc system gives a unique level of ride tweaking, but the system seriously affects overall suspension control: scott’s three-position twinloc system gives a unique level of ride tweaking, but the system seriously affects overall suspension control

Scott’s three-position TwinLoc system gives a unique level of ride tweaking, but the system seriously affects overall suspension control

Unfortunately, while it works OK as a slack-angled short-travel bike (though it’s heavy for that category), it’s much more difficult to find a happy medium with the suspension in full-travel ‘open’ mode. Despite months of extended testing and tuning time on our test sample and our long-term Genius test bike, we’ve still not found a sweet spot. The rear shock either blows through its travel very easily once it gets moving or chatters really badly off an over-solid top. There’s little sense of additional control despite the extra travel either, and certainly nothing to push through corners with.

As a result, we ended up leaving the shock in the more progressive, shorter-travel ‘traction’ mode on even the roughest descents to get more predictable control and handling. The trouble is, that automatically switches the fork into the middle ‘trail’ mode of an already firm damping tune. You can loosen the remote cable so it leaves the fork in ‘descend’ when it should be in ‘trail’ or run much soft pressures than normal and learn to cope with excess upper stroke dive, but neither solution is ideal. The extended fork length also means a noticeable loss of wheel precision no matter how firm things feel through the big bar.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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